Sunday, June 28, 2015

Death And Love And Marriage And Grace

This political cartoon is becoming iconic
after last week's news  
Last week was a rare moment in which grace managed to overpower, however briefly, the crudeness that is the usual way things seem to go nowadays.

These moments of grace were ironically born of that crudeness.

The grace partly had its roots in the terrible racial murder of nine people gathered in a Charleston, South Carolina church for Bible study.

The grace came after years of hate and misguided "morality" lectures aimed at gay people, some of whom just wanted to marry each other. The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday that in our nation at least, these gay people had the right to marry.

The grace was visible in the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy:

"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater thatn once they were.

The White House Friday evening. 
As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage.

Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of the civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants that right."

By far the leading trending hashtag on Twitter was #LoveWins. For once, love DID win.  

There was something dignified, graceful in all those raucous celebrations in the moments after the Supreme Court announced its decision. Rainbow colors are fun, and they were everywhere Friday. Rainbow lights even bathed the White House, as President Obama celebrated the decision.

Obama had his well-reported graceful moment Friday - even singing "Amazing Grace" - in a scene that had nothing to do with gay marriage.

The President was eulogizing the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, gunned down with eight others in the Charleston church by a young man drowning in racial rage.

Said Obama, describing the actions of the killer and the hand of God:

President Obama reminded us about grace as
he delivered a eulogy in Charleston, South
Carolina Friday. He even sang "Amazing Grace"
to emphasize his point.  
"Blinded by hatred the alleged killer would not see the grace surrounding Reverend Pinckney and that Bible study group, the light of love that shown as they opened the church doors and invited a stranger to join in their prayer circle.

The alleged killer could have never anticipated the way the families of the fallen would reside when they saw him in court in the midst of unspeakable grief with words of forgiveness. 

He couldn't imagine that. He's given us the chance where we've been lost to find our best selves. We may not have earned this grace with our rancor and complacency and short-sightednees and fear of each other, but we got it all the same. He gave it to us anyway. He's once more given us grace."

We live in a world of Internet trolls insulting everyone in their path. We live in a world of blowhards on the cable news shows all screaming over each other and talking nonsense. We live in a world in which politicians, our so-called leaders, stir up divisions, hate, their own political fortunes at the expense of the common good. We live in a world in which activists preach hate, and encourage it, just  so they can line their pockets with the money given to them by gullible donors.  

Sometimes it seemed like the world was completely overrun with this dark scenario that I just described.

Sure enough, by the time I woke up Saturday morning, it was back to the usual awfulness in the world. A few dozen tourists had been killed by an attacker at a Tunisian hotel.  They're still searching for an escaped killer in the Adirondack wilderness. The blowhards were back on cable news. The Internet trolls ranted unimpeded.

However, the wonderful, graceful moments so many people show on Friday proved once again that good will is not dead. In the darkness of our media, political and social landscape, there are bright, inviting pockets of light.

Friday proved that.

It's time to embrace that light. With grace and love. #LoveWins.

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